by Unknown, 8th
It has hidden in the shadows somewhere where it is dark
It has nested a home inside of us
We’re SCARED to watch the news AFRAID to watch as the next tragedy unfolds
When will the next gun be picked up
When will the next bullets be shot
When will the next bomb be set
The bomb is already ticking, it has been set
Within me, I’m ready to explode
One day my words will blow up
They will shake the world with all its power
And shock the country with all its courage
But the bomb isn’t only in me
It’s in all of the youth’s mind, ready to go off
When the time is right we will stand
We will use all of our ability to change the ways of the past
Because the only thing left to change the future
Is the future
by Grace K. 7th
My first year of middle school changed my life. I pushed away plates of food, “I am not hungry,” I’d say. At night my stomach rumbled, begging for food. My ribs showed, and my weight was dropping at an unhealthy rate. But at that time, my weight wasn’t just my weight. It was my self worth. My gate was stiff, and I felt unworthy as I walked through school.
The girl who I thought was always there for me, left me. Pretending I meant nothing to her, acting as if I wasn’t there. Joining the group of kids who picked on people, throwing juicy tomatoes in the direction of anyone they didn’t approve of at the cafeteria tables. All these emotions bubbled up inside of me anger, sadness the broken, sinking feeling in my stomach. I began gossiping about how much I hated this new “popular” group. When they found out, they got permission to take me out of class to have “a talk with me”. I knew what was happening when they pulled my limp emotionless body out of advisory one afternoon. Right as one girl was about to holler at me, I started crying. Fat, cold tears dripping down my chin and soaking the knee of my blue jeans.
I am not sure why, but I just explained everything. About rehab centers and therapy, dropping scales and panic attacks. How I had marks on my arm, how I tried to crawl out my window one Sunday night. How I felt when my best friend left me. Their faces relaxed, and they just stared for a moment. Kai spoke up saying, “Sometimes I feel bad about the way I look.” I looked up. Never had it occurred to me that another person would feel a similar way, let alone a boy. Hearing that lifted weight off of my shoulders. “Your not ugly, Grace. I just want to tell you that you’re beautiful, and you don’t deserve what you’re going through.” His eyes turned big, and I knew he was telling the truth.
I’ve held that conversation with me for years. We think that we know someone, but the truth is we only know the version of them they've chosen to show us. People can have such an impact on you. Even the people you never expected to.
by Marie Mendez, 11th
There’s a box, they tell me, a box
And I’m sitting here wishing that I had a box: I am
a product of Loving
Nine black dresses banged a gavel;
Decided colors could love each other, could kiss
their own pigment onto the canvas
Of one another.
My father’s favorite jacket is red, loud, angry,
a class clown with a suit and a mortgage: he is my mother’s
prince charming, he takes up the whole room when he talks.
My mom was my blue, the light of the microwave at night, I’d talk for hours
before she could finally get me to sleep.
She loves the ocean.
The salt of that love flows in my veins
mixing with my father’s red.
Their daughters: purple.
Me, my sister; her skin
Darker than mine,
the part of the equation you hadn’t accounted for,
do the math again,
My friends said
“I didn’t do the math homework.”
My friends said:
“What’s an Abulota?”
“Oh, I forgot there was a Mendez after Sparks”
“Lucy, you’re ---ing white”
“Mendez, like Shawn Mendes?”
“Scientifically, people can’t learn a language without an accent after turning 15”
“I’m giving you your brown card, it’s okay, don’t worry.”
“Why is your Spanish accent so much better than everyone else’s? It’s not fair”
And my white mother translating
cognates for me over papi’s
I thought I could build myself a box,
Out of the dancing trumpets I played
As I did the dishes
And rainbow I guess,
The colors I’d never show Abuelita
Out of the green stucco house in the good bad part of town.
We were ordering lunch at a chicken chain, my father
and I, Couldn’t explain it in Spanish
He switched to English, (or English to Spanish, one in the same) the girl
in the paper hat didn’t bat an eye,
Out of looney tunes shows
From my Abuelito’s bed,
the cigar boxes from Havana I have stacked in my room
And the stories they knit for me.
But, When the words of my father’s language dance out of my mouth, they trip, rr’s don't sound like they’re supposed to
And I had to explain to my sister that tacos aren’t our food
But neither are tortas, my dad told me:
“Dad, just tell me, what’d Abuelito say?”
“Nothing, it’s fine”
“He said… your Spanish got worse.”
So, well, I do have a box: I’m just not inside
It’s brown walls:
where they keep guayaba batidas, pastelito’s from porto’s,
lechon asado on noche buena, my dad
never taught me Spanish,
Said he couldn’t teach me
What I needed to know, in a language Mr. Samuel Smith didn’t let him write,
the strings hanging out of the pinata
my Abuelita made me: Cuban
She told me.
She never told me how to open
by O, 11th
She was broken and lost.
She made a lot of mistakes.
She made a lot of bad decisions.
But she was still standing up,
She was still fighting
She had never in her life, given up.
Even when it was all she needed.
She was so powerful,
She had so many ambitious,
She was so strong.
But people had always seen her as
the little one
the messy one
the stupid one with a messy life
If they only had just seen how valuable she was,
If people had just been aware
of her warrior spirit.
If they had just known how much she was.
Maybe and only maybe,
She would of seen her effort
and just for once,
She would of smiled.